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Dr Kelleher confirmed at least two people have died from the virus, with two more suspected deaths as a result of the flu.

In addition, North Dakota has reported three flu-related deaths in the most recent flu season.

During the last week of December, some 4.1 percent of doctor visits in the US were because of flu-like illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report known as FluView.

"We are starting to see an upward trend in cases being reported", said Jenny Galbraith, immunization surveillance coordinator at the North Dakota Department of Public Health.

"I know it's hard not to let your child go to school, or not yourself go to work, but it is important if you've got these symptoms", he said.

Of the 185 children who died from the flu a year ago, 80% had not received a flu shot, according to the CDC.

This year's flu season, predicted to be relatively mild, is defying expectations.

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"Flu activity is expected to continue to increase over the coming weeks", she adds. "That's probably because compared to previous year, we already know in both Iowa and nationally, we've had more people take the vaccine".

The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness rose to 3.3 percent - 50 percent higher than the national baseline of 2.2 percent. By that season's end, the state logged more than 6,400 hospitalizations, along with 435 deaths.

Calgary also saw around 500 more cases of influenza in mid-December compared with a year earlier.

Health experts say when it comes to the flu, there are major symptoms to be on the look out for - especially ones that appear suddenly and severely. Both of them were over 65 years old.

Eighty percent of pediatric flu deaths a year ago were in children who had not been vaccinated.

Question: We know it's important to get the flu shot. "Be sure to frequently wash your hands with soap and water and stay home if you are sick with flu-like illness". But get the flu shot sooner rather than later, since the vaccine can take up to two weeks to fully help protect the body.


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